31 Reasons to Visit the Co-op

Happy 2016! It’s a brand new year, new month, new day. No doubt many of you’ve made a variety of resolutions to make this year the best yet. The Co-op can help you succeed. How? Let us tell you. Here are 31 reasons why you should visit the Co-op every day this month to improve your life and your community.

1. You can own it! More than ever, we are aware of where every dollar we spend goes. Become an owner and the money you spend at the Co-op is an investment back into your community. For every $1,000 spent at a local food co-op, $1,604 is generated in our local economy. Now that’s a win, win, WIN!

2. Have you heard about Co+op Basics? Quality, organic food at low prices, what could be better? Co+op Basics offers everyday low prices on many popular grocery and household items. Baby products, canned goods, meat and more.

3. Stretch your dollars even more with our Pantry Basics Cooking Class. Learn how planning and prep make cooking on a budget fun and flavorful. Free to Co-op owners, what a deal!

4. Do you want to save more money? Yes! Easy answer. Sign up for our Weekly Sales and Events email. More ways to save at the Co-op delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning. Plus, you will stay up to date with store events, cooking classes, and seasonal  recipes.

5. The Weekly Sales Flyer features big savings on products from every department. On sale this month, Garden of Life Raw Fit. Jump start your New Year’s resolution with this high-protein, weight loss supplement. Stop by the Wellness Department to learn more!

6. Not sure what to make for dinner tonight? We have your Meal Solutions. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday we conduct tastings of a variety of recipes that are perfect for your dinner table any night of the week.

7. Everybody is welcome! Simple as that. You don’t have to be an owner to shop at the Co-op. Come on in and see what we are all about!

8. From non-violent communication to health related topics, every Monday night we have a FREE lecture open to the public. Check out the Co-op Calendar to view the current schedule of Free Monday Night Lectures

9. On Tuesdays, we feature a giveaway on our Facebook page. It's your chance to win FREE products from the Co-op. Vitamins, produce, Co+op Basics items, recipe ingredients, and more! Like and follow us on Facebook for your next chance to win.

10. New this past fall, Big Deals! Look for the Big Deal! signs throughout the Co-op for big savings. You’ll see the bright orange signs on everything from meat to mandarins.

11. Every month we offer a variety of cooking classes. Italian food, healing tonics, and chocolate tempering, learn to cook it all at the Co-op! New this year, our Kidtastic Cooking class. We’ve partnered with Rogue Valley Farm to School to offer this family friendly class that will include kitchen tasks, safe knife skills and healthy cooking.

12. What’s the best on-the-go lunch spot in Ashland? The AFC Deli of course! From the Hot Bar to the Burrito Menu, we’ve got healthy food options for vegans, vegetarians, carnivores and more. Fun fact: our deli pays the most meals tax in Ashland, come and see why!

13. We love community. Every year the Co-op awards grants up to $1,500 to nonprofit organizations in our region. Last year, the Co-op donated over $23,000 to 32 non profit organizations through our Community Grants Program.

14. Local is the name of the game and the Co-op always takes first place. We carry local products, invest money back into the community, and buy from local farms and vendors. Did you know that on average the Co-op supports over 250 local companies?

15. The January Meal Solutions schedule is soup centric. After all, winter is soup season. Try these tasty creations this month- Black Bean Avocado Soup, Ginger Spiked Carrot Soup, Breakfast Noodles from Vietnam, and Beef, Barley and Veggie Soup.

16. Connect with us outside the store! Did you know the Ashland Food Co-op is on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest? Follow us for organic food news, recipes, events and more.

17. No matter what your resolution is, our Wellness Department has something to aid you in your New Year’s journey. Essential oils, probiotics, CBD products and more!

18. Free beer and wine tastings every Wednesday and Friday, 4pm - 6pm, at the Culinary Kiosk. Need we say more?

19. Speaking of free tastings, did you know we offer tasting and product demonstrations almost every day at the Culinary Kiosk? This is your chance to meet the maker of your favorite Co-op products. Sample seasonal produce, local artisan coffee, hand crafted cheeses, and more. See the blackboard at the kiosk for upcoming events/tastings.

20. Italian, Garlic and Basil, Smoky Cajun, Tequila Lime… all flavors of AFC’s very own homemade sausages. With eight flavors of chicken and five flavors of pork, we’ve got your go-to meat for breakfast, soups, and pasta dishes. 

21. Did you know there are over 300 recipes on the AFC website? Don’t know what to make for dinner tonight? Find inspiration with us. A staff favorite is the Lentil, Kale, Chicken Sausage, and Rice Soup. This recipe is easy, affordable and most importantly delicious.

22. We pride ourselves on excellent customer service. We want you to be happy with your shopping experience at the Co-op. Not satisfied with a product? Stop by the Information Desk and inquire about our return policy.

23. Sustainability is a key pillar of our day to day business operations. Did you know?

  • Last year, approximately 200,000 glass bottles were brought in to AFC, recycled, then crushed and used for road base in the Rogue Valley
  • For over 20 years, a local sheep herder has collected the Produce Department’s compost for feed. This offsets our landfill waste by 35%.

24. Trying to eat more fruits and vegetables this year? The AFC Juice and Smoothie Bar makes that an easy and delicious resolution. Try the Ashland Sunrise, Green Light, or Island Bliss next time you are in the store.

25. Making a lifestyle in 2016? Starting to eat Paleo? The Co-op has paleo friendly products to get you started on your new food journey. Try Pederson’s Natural Farms No Hickory Smoked BaconJilz Gluten Free CrackerRed Boat Fish SauceCoconut Secret Coconut Aminos

26. At the Co-op, it’s easy to get kids involved with grocery shopping. Start with one of our mini kids carts, a small grocery list, and a free banana to fuel the shopping. Kid friendly grocery shopping never looked so good!

27. We truly have a world class, local wine selection. Slagle Creek "Pini" Tempranillo - Cabernet Sauvignon, owner/winemaker Bob Denmen utilizes his neighbor’s super low yielding Pini Vineyard for this terrific red. Organic and biodynamic Cowhorn Vineyard Spiral 36 was just named Forbes magazine "White Wine Value of the YEAR". Red, white, oaky, or bright, the Co-op meets all your wine needs.

28. The produce at the Co-op is off the hook, arguably the best in the Rogue Valley. The selection is carefully curated to be the most fresh and sustainably grown. Rachel Rose, Assistant Produce Manager, recommends local carrots this time of year. “Wintertime carrots are the sweetest of carrots. When the weather gets cold, carrots and other hearty vegetables, will generate more sugars to help protect themselves from freezing.”

29. Chocolate makes the perfect gift for any occasion. With nine shelves dedicated to the sweet treat, the AFC chocolate selection is one of a kind. Unique flavors, organic, fair trade, dark and milk chocolate, we have something for everyone.

30. One of the most popular dishes in the AFC Deli is meatloaf. It’s made in SIXTY pound batches. We use ground turkey and Emerald Hills grass-fed beef, alternating the two from one day to the next. Which one is your favorite?

31. The Ashland Food Co-op is Southern Oregon’s only Certified Organic Retailer. The entire staff at the store has been trained to uphold the organic standards set forth by the USDA and Oregon TILTH. This training ensures that cross contamination from conventional products does not happen throughout the receiving, storing or stocking process. When you buy organic produce at the co-op, it is the real deal.

Since there are only 31 days in January, we’ll stop here. But there are many more reasons you should visit the Co-op this month. Stop in and you’ll see why!

More Co-op News

2018 Electronic Coupon Schedule

To further our sustainability efforts and to serve you better, we began offering Electronic Owner Coupons in January 2017 at the register.

No more forgetting to bring your owner coupons. No more waiting for your newsletter to arrive. Cashiers simply ask if you want to use your owner coupons when you check out.

As we enter our second year of Electronic Coupons we wanted to share a couple of friendly reminders and the 2018 month by month schedule.

Please note:

What Does Democracy Have to Do with Cooperatives?

By Annie Hoy, Marketing Manager

We often refer to cooperatives as “democratic enterprises.” But what does that really mean? The Ashland Food Co-op, like all other co-ops in most economic sectors, is owned and controlled by the people who use its services.

Proposals Sought for the 2018 Community Grants

The funding cycle for the 2018 Co-op Community Grants for nonprofit organizations begins in February.

Every spring, for more than 20 years, we’ve been donating to area nonprofits through our Community Grant program. We are committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities and this program helps us fulfill that commitment by supporting the amazing work of local nonprofits. The Community Grant program is also the highlight of Cooperative Principle 7, Concern for Community, and is something we take to heart.

From the General Manager’s Desk

By Emile Amarotico

As we commence our lap around the sun in 2018, I wish to recognize the longstanding contributions of an amazing group of professionals. We are blessed with the dedication of eleven department managers expertly coordinating the daily flow of people, products and services that breath life into our Co-op!

  • Lynne (35+ years’ tenure) our Grocery Manager oversees keeping the aisles abundant with shelf stable products and coolers full of fresh perishables.

The Role of the Board in Co-op Governance

By Gwyneth Bowman, Vice President

After serving on the AFC Board for fourteen years my passion for the Co-op model has strengthened my commitment to the Cooperative Principles and Values. Of special importance is how we work together as a governing body with one voice. We are the ultimate decision-makers of our Co-op and hold a trusteeship for the benefit of our owners and community.

Fall Favorites from the Co-op

Like it or not, the cool weather has arrived. Whether you are heading out for a hike or enjoying a good book by the fire, the Co-op Deli has what you need to fuel your favorite fall activity. Stay warm with these comfort food recommendations from the Co-op Deli.

From the General Manager's Desk

By Emile Amarotico

A recent visitor commented that our parking is totally inadequate to our business volume. What’s true is that we cannot create more parking due to space and municipal code constraints. Thus, the value of each available space is increasing over time. Assuming only half of Co-op shoppers use automobile parking, each space supports at least $200,000 in annual sales.

Meet Board of Director Julie O'Dwyer

When not working on Board of Director efforts, my profession is an Interior and Building Designer. I own the Ashland Design Studio, located in the Historic Railroad District, and have a design services studio there - JulieO Design. I have been in the architectural design business my whole life; from crawling around my father's architectural studio to traveling around the world working on buildings large and small to now having created my own niche in the local building community. I took a few years off this path to own and run Tease Restaurant here in Ashland.

5 Reasons to Love Co-ops

October is National Co-op Month, so what’s the big deal? Being a co-op is special. Yes, we know we are biased, but being a cooperative enterprise means we do business differently. We don’t have a single owner living on their private island drinking margaritas all day without a care in the world. We are owned and governed by you, our 10,000 members. We share the burden in hard times and share the benefits in the good times. We put people, the planet and our principles before profit.

From the General Manager's Desk

By Emile Armarotico

This spring, National Co-op Grocers recognized Ashland Food Co-op as a Co+efficient Sustainability Star for our excellent sustainability efforts.

Our Sustainability Vision aims at being carbon neutral by 2030. We’ve taken a great stride toward this by installing a 39 kilowatt solar electric system on our rooftop with the capacity to generate approximately 7% of our electricity usage. The cost was partially offset by a $27,000 REAP (Rural Energy for America Program) Grant.

Local Starts at the Co-op

When we say local, we mean local. We source our local goods from within 200 miles of the store. By purchasing goods from local producers, we aim to create and maintain a healthy local economy and support family farms. What could be better than helping your community by buying local goods?

With all the local products that we offer, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But that’s exactly what we asked our staff to do. Here are some of their go-to local eats.

Your Fruit. Your Cider.

How often can you browse the shelf at your neighborhood grocery store, see a bottle of hand crafted, local cider and say, “Hey, I help make that!” Well, at the Co-op you can.

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Many of us wait all year for this moment. We spend the winter months dreaming of a certain fuzzy stone fruit, its sweet juices dripping from our face and the buttery golden pie crust those yellow-orange slices will inhabit.

Good news! The wait is over. That local, sweet orb of sunshine has finally arrived. That’s right. Rolling Hills peaches are here!

2017 Board Election Results

The Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2017 Board Election. There were five excellent candidates running for three Board positions. In total, 733 votes were cast, representing 9% of owners. 
Congratulations to the following candidates who will serve three-year terms on the Ashland Food Co-op Board of Directors.

We're Sustainability Stars!

Deep in our hearts we've always known we were sustainability stars, but now we have an award to prove it.

We recently received a Co+efficient Sustainability Star award from National Co-op Grocers (NCG) recognizing our positive environmental and community impacts.

Co+efficient, NCG’s sustainability program, measures social, environmental and local economic impacts from participating food co-ops across the country.